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RSI Awareness Day


Claire Rennie (first published in Statnews, May 2008).

 

Twelve STAT teachers came together to support the 2008 RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) Conference and Awareness Day held at Friends Meeting House, London on Saturday 1st March.

 

There was a full programme of presentations and a busy exhibition area where STAT had a large stand with sufficient teachers on hand to provide information, answer queries and provide one-to-one taster sessions.

 

Conference presenters included: 

  • Suparna Damany -visiting from USA to present on RSI -From Partial Recovery to Complete Function.

  • Dr Michael Hutson -who spoke regarding RSI diagnosis and urged clinicians that "if they wanted to find the Holy Grail (i.e. understand diffuse RSI), they needed to take off their helmets, open their eyes and broaden their minds!"

  • Ann Thomson -Director of the RSI & Overuse Injury Association in Australia presenting on RSI in Australia: Myth or Reality.

  • BP and SmithKline Glaxo -explaining how they are investing in protecting their workforce from musculo-skeletal disorders.

Alongside STAT in the exhibition area were physiotherapists, Bowen technique practitioners, suppliers of ergonomic furniture, computer equipment and voice recognition software, Waterstone's booksellers, and professionals offering legal and welfare advice.

 

The feedback from those who attended the Alexander Technique stand was very positive. Analysis of the data that we recorded reveals that delegates crossed all age groups and professions, reflecting the susceptibility of people to RSI in our modern work environments. Professional groups represented included: 

  • Legal adviser, solicitor, accountant 

  • IT business analyst, CAD (Computer Aided Design) technician, computer programmer, software developer

  • Undergraduate and PhD students

  • Arts administrator, archivist, librarian

  • Project manager, retail and sales manager

  • Health & safety assessor, health practitioner

  • Administrator, clerical worker

 The day was positive not only for the delegates but also for the teachers who took part, some of whom have commented below:

"I came down to the RSI day to see what was going on in the RSI world and to meet other teachers who were working with RSI. I found the day very informative and useful. The lectures I went to were the Australian RSI lecture and the lady who had made a good recovery from RSI and is now a Pilates teacher. Both were interesting, especially as the Pilates lady did mention the Alexander Technique and swimming." 

Suzanne Duncanson

 

"I enjoyed talking to and demonstrating the Technique for people who came to the stand. The first person I spoke to couldn't write without a lot of discomfort, so I filled in most of the information form for her and she signed it. Her signature was so much darker than my writing that it was the perfect way to start talking about the Alexander principles. She could see that she had used a lot of pressure and effort to sign her name and how that might relate to her problem. She enjoyed her turn and went away intending to find a teacher." 

Jill Payne

 

"What struck me forcibly was how broad and variable a set of disorders is being referred to as RSI (or 'musculo-skeletal disorders of the upper and lower limbs', as the literature described it). Until I read the conference pack, I had no idea. I was also shocked by just how long some people had been living with it."

Catharine Gunningham

 

"I enjoyed the two hours I was there. I volunteered because I did a study on RSI some years ago and have had students with RSI. So I am interested to find out new things about it and also to offer my experience. I visited the Bowen Technique stall and had a session which was interesting. And the stall opposite had some interesting ergonomic keyboards."

Penny O'Connor

In conclusion, the support that STAT and the individual Alexander teachers gave at the RSI Conference and Awareness Day was beneficial for all concerned. It opened our eyes both to the experiences of RSI sufferers and to the different approaches and practitioners endeavouring to address it. Finally, it gave the opportunity for us, as Alexander teachers, to work together and express the part that the Technique can play in RSI prevention and recovery. Thank you to all teachers who took part.

 

Claire Rennie & contributors 2008

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